As the backlash from the Load and ReLoad albums took place, Metallica decided to release this album in late 1998 to show the world that, clearly, their agenda was their own and that they could not care if the world took them overly seriously or not. This is where the kings of Thrash Metal were losing their focus, reaching their nadir with the awful St. Anger album, often cited as one of the worst albums of all time. That was some time in the future, however. Still, Metallica needed to keep going and decided to release this as a not-so-serious release by the group, or at least that is how Lars Ulrich put it prior to release. This double album is split into two sides, the first having some brand new covers recorded by Metallica, and the second side a hodgepodge mixture of previous covers by the group. All that aside, this should be an interesting album to listen to, so let’s hear it.

Free Speech For The Dumb is originally a song from the infamous Punk band Discharge. It begins with dual-tracked monstrous riffs that chug away nicely, a basic drum rhythm and grinding basslines. This sounds freaky and manic as heck, it just does what it does absolutely superbly. Kirk Hammett’s playing on this tune is amazing, covered with expressive leads and fuzz tone, it sounds super great. The lyrics here are fairly minimal and repetitive, but this is more about sonic sounds than anything lyrical. Metallica makes this song sound amazing, and it is a very good listen from start to finish. James Hetfield’s vocals are really awesome here, and the group plays nicely. It ends with a load of guitars after two and a half minutes. Great start to the album.

It’s Electric is a Diamond Head cover. It begins with a truly awesome set of lead guitar riffs, powerful drums and James Hetfield singing about wanting to be a Rock star, and being rich and famous. Of course, many musicians out there have similar aspirations, and this piece of music is powerful, uplifting and amazing to listen to. A nice and cool piece of cover work that sounds fantastic, and has some awesome vocals by James in particular. There is a manic shred guitar solo by Kirk Hammett here that utilises unusual scales and fast playing. The breakdown in the second half is pretty cool, and the guitars stop for a bit, whilst the band power on very well with a lot of focus on James Hetfield. Great cover, this sounds really cool. Good job Metallica.

Sabbra Cadabra of course is by Black Sabbath via cover form here by Metallica. It begins with some great riffing, hi-hats and an awesomely suspenseful tune at hand. The bass playing by Jason Newsted is thick and excellent. Reportedly, Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath is Jason Newsted’s all-time favourite bassist, explaining why his bass is cranked so high in the mix. James Hetfield sings in such a euphoric way and this piece comes very much alive, and Black Sabbath obviously had a huge influence on the music of Metallica. Great cover and this does sound really top and fantastic. There is a riff-based breakdown near the middle of the song, along with some suspenseful drum rolls that sound quite cool. It changes into the next section, which sounds really sweet and passionate. Obviously, this cover sounds really excellent for what it is. An extraordinarily thunderous, heavy and awesome piece of Metal. Great music to hear, even if this is Metallica simply buying themselves more time with this album at this point. A great headbanging tune, this does sound terrific. Towards the end, it returns to the section that was in the first half, and James Hetfield sounds really fantastic here. A super cool tune and another great listen here. Excellent cover. It ends with the main riff repeating to fade. Nice.

Turn The Page is originally a Bob Seger tune. It begins with Psychedelic reverb, some heavily distorted slide guitar and James Hetfield sings in a very deep way. This quickly launches into an amazing song that is heavy in melancholy and is about life out on the Rock tour slog. It sounds quite decent, although this is a rather depressing tune to hear. Still, it is an awesome rendition of a good song that still sounds amazing to this day. This song makes complete sense if you are a touring Rock musician, warts and all. A really cool listening experience, the music here is fantastic. Towards the middle, James puts his heart and soul into this tune and the wah-wah slide guitar is something different. In the second half, it goes super subdued to reach the peak of the song, and this tune launches into a solo section that is excellent. A really great listening experience, this is one of the more popular pieces from this album, easy to hear why. A timeless tune that sounds really lively, this sounds fantastic. A deep and soulful piece of melancholy music, this is really well done. It slows down at the end, with the weird wah-wah slide guitar finishing it off. Legendary.

Die, Die My Darling is originally a Misfits cut. It is a very short tune that begins with synchronised guitars and drums, along with some passionate singing from James Hetfield. The music here is very solid, although this is a weaker cut from the album. It does have some very Punk inspired themes here lyrically, and the song itself sounds very powerful here. A wonderful and listenable tune that does the trick nicely, although it is very brutal to listen to itself. A good listen nonetheless for a two-and-a-half-minute tune. It ends abruptly with killswitch style guitar feedback.

Loverman is a song originally done by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. It goes straight into the tune with no intro, and James Hetfield growls his way through this tune. An interesting tune to cover, with some nice clean guitar and soft percussion to illuminate the story. It quickly launches into a loud and furious sounding chorus that is full of male lust, something that is very rarely written about in today’s music. A really interesting and weird tune, this is the point of the album where the quality begins to lag somewhat. It’s not a bad cover, it just lacks some of the key magic that some other works by Metallica (regardless if they are doing covers or not) had done in the past. It sounds like a dirty and multisectioned tune that sounds interesting and suspenseful, but the song itself isn’t the greatest. It’s good to hear Metallica look back at their influences, but the quieter sections of this song and the length kind of kill the vibe present here. The chorus isn’t the greatest either and could have been better done. Still, this is Metallica and they do what they do very well, seemingly with very little effort. A strange listen and a good effort, even if this isn’t a great effort. Towards the end, the song stops purposely, before launching into the grand finale. A great song about pure lust in its own way, even if it seems lacking here. Could have been shorter, but that’s okay. This is good to hear, although not great. It gets very quiet towards the end, before finishing.

Mercyful Fate is originally by Mercyful Fate. It’s the longest proper Metallica song ever recorded, going well over 11 minutes long. It begins well, with a multitude of guitar riffs and sounds quite aggressive. Soon enough, this changes into a new section and launches into the Metal mayhem at hand. Metallica do understand what great riffs are, and this song is no different. A thunderous and good song, but again, this lacks the traditional Metallica magic at times. The riff sections here are very interesting though, and the whole song sounds really powerful. There is some awesome whammy work from Kirk Hammett here, and he proves his worth as a great Metal guitarist. Singing about the curse of the Pharoah from Egypt, this song is very good for what it is and is rather adventurous. Soon enough, more riffs enter and we are underway into the next section of music. A weird combination of songs into an extended medley, this is a very interesting listen, despite the length of time of this song. Singing about resisting satan himself, this is typical Heavy Metal stuff. Once again, this changes into a chugging rifftacular section that sounds interesting. The whole song sounds super aggressive and interesting, being fairly joyous listen for those who enjoy biblical themes and the darkness of the human soul. A really fully charged and powerful listen, although possibly in need of some trimming length wise here and there. Seemingly, Metallica hadn’t totally learned from their mistakes of Load and ReLoad on this covers album, which is somewhat sad. In the second half, Kirk Hammett opens up with a ripping guitar solo that sounds really brilliant. James Hetfield leads the way with these songs, and although this is not the greatest Metallica release ever, he screams excellently here. The second half is full of wah-wah guitar solos and chugging rhythms. If you are an Athiest or anti-religious, this music will make total sense lyrically. A good medley cover, with a touch of Progressive Rock about it, this is a good, but not great offering. It ends with some more supercharged riffing sections, before concluding by returning to the first section and ending there. Good stuff.

Astronomy is by former Mercyful Fate singer King Diamond. It begins with quiet hi-hat rhythms, and some wah-wah guitars that float in and out of consciousness before the song gets going. This tune definitely sounds a little weaker, and although one can appreciate the effort present here, it is a bit slow and disappointing. A good listen anyway, but very slow to get going. It does have some interesting guitar work nonetheless. Once this tune gets going after some time, it launches into quite a decent and heavy groove to hear. This sounds very typical of the music that Metallica has made since their 1980s Thrash Metal heyday. Sadly, Metallica despite their efforts never matched their Master Of Puppets or …And Justice For All days by this point. There is an interesting riff played over many octaves after the chorus, and it sounds really different but is too slow and long a tune really to enjoy. In any case, this is okay, but not sensational, despite the fact you can clearly hear the energy and effort put in here. The guitar solo is also typical Kirk Hammett sounding stuff, quickly launching back into the tune at hand. The guitar work towards the end is slow and sustained, just before the conclusion is reached. Good to hear, but it could have been edited a bit. It’s okay for a six-and-a-half-minute-long tune, however. A fade out occurs here with Kirk Hammett shredding away nicely.

Whiskey In The Jar is one of the most streamed Metallica songs of all time, originally by Thin Lizzy. It begins with riffs galore, a deep rumbling bass line and a good tune to hear. The music here is okay, but much too Poppy to really be enjoyed here unless you really dig Poptallica. A simple story about cops and robbers to music, there is a clear lyrical error in the chorus that some may be able to pick up on. For now, we will avoid observing it too deeply. This song is okay, but not fantastic. It is a simple listening experience that sounds like a fairly ordinary sounding tune. Again, this is quite long, at five minutes long. A rather ordinary cover that doesn’t hit the expectations that Metallica would traditionally do. Fairly naff, it is pretty boring to hear. In any case, this song is rather lame and the music present isn’t the most inspiring. Okay, but this is miles away from the best of Metallica.

Tuesday’s Gone is originally by Lynyrd Skynyrd. Again this is a long song that goes on way past its welcome at over nine minutes long. It’s a bluesy, melancholy tune that sounds really depressing and really needn’t be here for a million years. Anyway, one can hear the power and emotion of James Hetfield’s singing and the instrumentation, such as acoustic guitars and harmonicas throughout. A very different sounding piece of music for Metallica, it does sound rather out of place on this covers album. Good to hear Metallica embracing a different style of music all the same, which isn’t so easy to do. The song should be a shorter piece, rather than being extremely long. The Southern Rock vibe is something that Metallica frequently overlooked over time, and one can appreciate the effort put in via their influences. The harmonica solo is different here, but still, this is enough to put one to sleep. “Tuesday’s gone, with the wind,” is repeated over and over again to boredom. The album really begins to lose its magic at this point, and this is very difficult to listen to from start to finish in a single sitting. Probably best to skip this one, if you can. The sounds present are nicely done, but that’s about it. There is some good acoustic guitar work throughout, which is a highlight of this song. In any case, it’s okay but not overly impressive. A mindless jam that drags and makes one lose interest quickly. Towards the end, things get subtle and slow right down at the end. Some clapping and cheering at the end with some crude remarks by James are here before this finishes. Quite boring.

The More I See is another number from Punk group Discharge, covered by Metallica. It begins with some speedy drumming from Lars Ulrich, some delayed rhythm guitar playing and some great delay on the guitars here. Soon enough, the main riff enters and we are in a much more minimal and better sounding tune at hand. Even though this is more exciting, this sounds like it is not the best choice for Metallica to cover here. An interesting listen nonetheless with some expressive guitar playing, this sounds very punchy and direct. It should do, given Metallica and Discharge’s music. In the middle is a quick breakdown, with some bridged vocals by James Hetfield. Soon enough, this song gets going again well. It ends after three minutes, and there is some silence for a bit. Soon enough, some guitars and drums enter to finish off the first half of the album. This is not overly impressive and could have been ditched here. Kirk Hammett plays like Jimi Hendrix here, and this song finally fades out.

Helpless begins with some humming from James Hetfield, and Lars Ulrich quickly follows with some nice drumming. This is the second half of the album, consisting of covers from earlier on in Metallica’s career. You can certainly hear that, the music is fantastic though and it sounds really anarchic and tuneful. This is fairly close to the Thrash Metal territory of Metallica in the 1980s. Nonetheless, for a quick, speedy and effective sounding tune, this is very, very good. A good cover and an interesting piece of music. Admittedly, this likely could have been trimmed a bit in length, but it’s okay. There is a bass guitar Jason Newsted led breakdown, leading into the next section of guitar riffing. The band is in fine form here, and it is really awesome and decent Metal to hear. The drumming on this tune is spectacular and points to the fact that Lars Ulrich is perhaps a better drummer than people would think. A loud, fast and aggressive listen, Metallica does a great job here as a unit. An interesting tune to hear, there are many different and impressive elements of the song here. Great to hear, this sounds fantastic. An unusual Kill ‘Em All sounding guitar solo is by Kirk Hammett here. Still, this is very impressive and decent listening. Nice work by the band. Thrashy, loud and in your face, this is a good start to the music on the second side of the album. It ends with a synchronised groove, before fading back in, Strawberry Fields Forever style. There is some studio chatter before this tune concludes.

The Small Hours begins with amplifier hiss and hi-hats, followed quickly by unusual arpeggios which are super weird. Soon enough, this launches into a weird song with some unusual drum patterns and sounds present. Some chugging riffs enter and this tune gets going into Metal mayhem. A very interesting and traditional Metal tune, this sounds quite good for what it is. A really loud, powerful and awesome listen, this is a decent cover from Metallica. It sounds punchy and interesting for a six minute long tune, and it sure does what it does in an inspired way. The chugging riffs and heavy singing are very Black Sabbath, who were a big influence on Metallica. A deep, dark and heavy tune with a little bit of eeriness about it. The second half changes tempo entirely, going into a sped up Thrash Metal mode which is brilliant. Kirk Hammett shreds away as though his life depends on it, playing faster than Eddie Van Halen. Soon enough, this song returns to the verses and as we approach the end, we have heard quite a good cover from start to finish. A very nice listen, Metallica do kick rear very well. A wonderful listen from start to finish, it ends with eerie riffs. Nice work.

The Wait begins with some sustained notes, followed by crunchy rhythm guitar playing and launches into a mega heavy tune that sounds really quite interesting musically and catchy, too. This piece fortunately is somewhat shorter at just under five minutes in length. Metallica do impress with this song, and the chorus has some great singing/screaming from James Hetfield in the background over the music, a nice little audio trick there. Nonetheless, this is a really decent and amazing listen that should be a call-to-arms for Metalheads to be inspired enough to play an instrument or sing. The midsection present is ridiculously good, very nicely played and with little intricacies about it. Kirk Hammett plays some mad wah-wah guitar briefly, before this tune gets into a nice rhythmic chugging section with loads of palm muting. The guitar solo in the second half is absolutely brilliant, but could have been mixed better for audio’s sake. In any case, Metal rules and Metallica do excellently here. A decent tune and an enjoyable listen.

Crash Course In Brain Surgery begins with some studio sounds, before Jason Newsted plays a bass guitar riff that is very melodic, before dual tracked electric guitars come over the top of it all. This unfortunately isn’t the greatest cover by Metallica here. James Hetfield’s voice has some difficulty reaching the higher notes on this tune, and it sounds like an awkward listening experience throughout. At least it is short at less than three minutes long. There is a strange montage of noise in the middle, just before a shred fest guitar solo enters by Kirk Hammett. After that, the bass guitar riff enters and the song quickly resumes after that. It’s over after three minutes, good but not great.

Last Caress / Green Hell is another short piece that is demonic and heavy lyrically, matched to Skate Punk style melodies. A weird sort of cover medley, but it does sound interesting and musically accomplished. Brutal yet enjoyable, this is a decent tune for what it is. It quickly launches into the second half musically, which is a super fast Thrash Metal piece and one of the fastest numbers Metallica ever did. Ridiculously good, this does sound energetic and impressive. A cool tune to hear, this sounds very much pulsating and full of energy. It ends fairly quickly and has a really weird outro to conclude. Nice work.

Am I Evil? is a legendary tune. It begins with borrowing the theme from Gustav Holst’s The Planets, in particular the Mars section of it. It is an awesome introduction for a cover of this sort and sounds very deep and interesting. It launches into a really cool tune with some manic tapped guitar sections, followed by some great harmonics and launches eventually into the main song. Metallica does this song complete justice, and it sounds almost like a Metallica original. A really cool, awesome and unique listening experience throughout, this is a fantastic cover by the group. The lyrics present are fairly dark and satanic, but then again, this isn’t The Beatles. It’s pure Heavy Metal and sounds really excellent and wonderful for what it is. A surprisingly good cover, this launches into a Thrash Metal extraordinaire section in the second half and is a joyous listen, provided you aren’t religious. An excellent piece of music that poses the song title’s question into your own mind. A really cool and interesting listening experience, there is an awesome guitar solo by Kirk Hammett here which sounds really cool and amazing. A great tune to hear, this does sound very explorative. There are some awesome shred patterns within. A great song and Metallica do very well here to impress the listener. Great to hear, this song ends with some great singing by James Hetfield and a nice rhythmic guitar section. Awesome tune.

Blitzkrieg launches straight into Metal riffs, followed by bass and drums to match. This is a shorter piece of music that sounds, again, supercharged. A really cool and lyrically interesting tune to hear, Metallica provide a decent cover song here, even if much of the album sounds very similar here. There is much excitement and interest in these songs. The guitar solo by Kirk Hammett is really fast, furious and awesome. An awesome tune to enjoy, there are some nice multitracked whammy guitar sounds and squeals that will maintain your interest throughout here. A short, sharp and enjoyable listening experience. The music on this album is interesting and decent enough to be enjoyed. It ends with a bunch of noise and James Hetfield burping. Weird.

Breadfan is a long piece with a quick count in and monstrous guitar riffs. This quickly launches into a midtempo (for Metallica) section that sounds very tight rhythmically and James Hetfield sings very well here, proving his worth. The song itself is a fairly average cover, and God knows what a Breadfan is. Still, the music here is really awesome and decent sounding, and it just is really excellent for what it is. An interesting guitar solo from Kirk Hammett is here as well, he shreds very nicely away to the song at hand. Metallica are the kings of Thrash Metal. In the middle is a drastic change, with the first half melting away quickly, launching right into a melodic midsection that sounds not dissimilar to the sounds of something like Metallica’s own instrumentals. Great to hear anyway, this is a good sounding piece of music to explore. Great tune, it relaunches back into the main section prevalent in the first half of the tune. A cool and fine listen, this is a good Metallica cover to hear. Enjoyable from start to finish, and very well played by the group. It ends with a quick outro and a robotic child’s voice simply saying: “Mummy, where’s fluffy?”. Good work.

The Prince launches straight into a palm muted guitar led tune that sounds really awesome. There is a manic guitar solo by Kirk Hammett which is unusual so early on in this sort of tune. Soon enough, guitar riffs enter and this piece progresses very nicely. A powerful piece of music that is nicely covered by Metallica, the music here is very, very good. Metallica create a wonderful sound as a band when at their best, even if it is doing covers. Although this isn’t the best Metallica cover ever, it does wonders. A cool listening experience throughout, the music here is really quite excellent. You can hear some of Metallica’s musical ideas were inspired by these sorts of songs. A great listen through and through, James Hetfield’s singing about heaven and hell is quite good here. A nice effort through and through.

Stone Cold Crazy is a very short piece of music for this double album, which begins with whammy bar guitar work, quickly launching into a monster of a tune. This is a really awesome tune to launch into, and James Hetfield spits out rapid fire singing, sounding top here. This continues into a great and interesting listen, and the whole tune is a short example of what Metallica could cover. Nonetheless, it sounds really excellent and does the job nicely here. An interesting listen, with some nice storytelling from the group here. Good work.

So What is an awesome cover right from the start, and is very much a legendary cover by Metallica. A great song with some Punk attitude with Metal riffs, this is a really extraordinary and confrontational listen for fans of the band. A three minute long punch-in-the-face that sounds really excellent, this is a very traditional sex, drugs and rock and roll tune that impresses the listener. An awesome listen, with a wild guitar solo by Kirk Hammett, this is cool and clever listening. Worth it if you want to hear something twisted and amusing set to Heavy Metal. Great listen.

Killing Time has a short spoken intro, before drums and guitars enter to begin this song. A really powerful and interesting listen, this is another good Metallica cover. By this point of the double album, one can feel a little tired of hearing so much material that is identical. Regardless, this is another good but not great effort and for the most part, this album is nearly over anyway. A good cover that has some decent attitude to hear, this does do a wonderful job musically, particularly the guitar solo. Yes, this does sound formulaic, but even so, the music is good for what it is. It is only three minutes long, however and is a good piece of Metal all the same.

Overkill – Live begins with some pounding drums that sound quite good, a bass guitar riff and some heavy guitars. This is a Motorhead cover, and it does sound fairly close to the original song. A muscular, meaty and decent cover song, but the vocals aren’t as clear as they could be here, which is disappointing. All the same, this is an adrenaline pumping tune that has its merits. Some manic guitar solos are here again, making up for the barely audible vocals at times. This album seems like overkill by this point of time, and just goes on for too long. Sadly, that is the flaw of Garage Inc. The song has a decent wah-wah guitar solo, which is cool, though. Still, most people would be best off switching off the record by this point. The playing is excellent here, though. It segues into the next song.

Damage Case – Live begins with some pounding drums and guitars and launches into an interesting boogie. This is even less interesting than the previous song, and James Hetfield’s singing isn’t the best here. It sounds like his vocals need a rest, and is quite disappointing musically and vocally. A fairly average song, this again points to the fact that at this stage, Metallica was just pumping out average material for the sake of it. Pretty naff, and it feels like a drag to listen to. Still, St. Anger was a lot worse than this song, but this could have been overlooked or dropped from this album. Anyway, it is okay for what it is. Less than four minutes long, this is an okay tune and cover.

Stone Dead Forever – Live begins with a distorted bass guitar part, drum hits and the feeling that this is all becoming a drag. It is a bit better than the last song before it but sounds varied and powerful enough to maintain interest. A good listen, but not a great listen, this isn’t the greatest Metallica has done. In any case, the music here is okay, but not fantastic like Master Of Puppets was as an album. This album is a bit of a drag by this point, and 1998 was the beginning of the end for mainstream guitar based music. Sure, there was still some decent Rock and Metal out there at that point, but the inspiration for young men playing guitars was dying. Nonetheless, this is a very average tune that can cause one to stop the record entirely. Very ordinary music, to say the least. The guitar solos at the end are nice, though.

Too Late Too Late – Live is the very last song on this lengthy double album. Again, it sounds a lot like filler and music without direction. Nothing great here about the songs on the tail end of this very long album, this doesn’t sound very inspired or great music to be fair. Fortunately, it is only three minutes or so long. Avoid it if you can, the music by this point should be stopped. Metallica’s best days were obviously behind them, and this album is indicative of that. A mediocre cover, this is boring to say the least. A short and dull listening experience.

To be fair, this is a very long and average record. It would have been much better for Metallica to cut down the material somehow, to one disc or even a disc and a half. Two hours of average cover songs aren’t the best move by a band that made mistakes with the Load and ReLoad releases not long before it. Only Metallica fans will really enjoy this as a result, everyone else should bypass this lengthy release. More time and worse albums were needed for this once great Metal band to lift their game, however.

Average Inc.